Writing exercises put a positive spin on the word exercise. They are fun and best of all, get me writing. I love the shove into the rabbit hole of my imagination and memory.
So, here’s a writing exercise for you and the first part of my answer.
This exercise is from page 37 of What If?, one of the few textbooks I kept.
“Buy a notebook for just this one exercise [note: Or if you’re like me, use one of the many you already have]. Then, on a regular basis perhaps at the beginning of your writing time or before you go to bed, write for ten to twenty minutes addressing each of the following subjects: [another note: there are many subjects but I am only listing one]
List in detail all the places you have lived–one place per page. (This is a good way to begin because it gives the entire notebook a grounding in time and place.) You might want to get very specific, say, by recounting all the kitchens or bedrooms.”
I’ll share mine about the first house I lived in:
This one doesn’t get it’s own page because I only lived there for the first months of my life. The house sat across from a root-beer stand called Dog n’ Mug. An eight-foot picture of a frosty mug of root-beer holding a leashed hot-dog, complete with toppings, spanned the front wall. My Dad used to sneak over there at 10:30 in the morning and eat mushroom-smothered hot-dogs for breakfast (according to my Great-Grandma Hayes). The only reason I have a picture of it in my mind is because my parents pointed the house out to me on one of the many visits to the root-beer stand after we moved. I mentioned the drab grey-green color of the house and the six-foot privacy fence painted to match. They said it had been tan when they lived there.
I know I spent more time on the root-beer stand than the house but hey, to me, that’s the most vivid part of the house.
Your turn! Tell me about the first place you lived and since the point of this exercise is to write, I would encourage you to make up the details you can’t remember. But just in case you’re wondering the giant picture of the mug walking a hot-dog does exist.